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POLICE WILL WATCH FOR CEMETERY VANDALS

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Local cemeteries are responding to an increase in headstone vandalism by putting cops in the graveyards, and Halloween is their busiest time of the year.

"We've been hit really hard. The staff members will go out and set the headstones back up and two days later they are down again," said Jerry McKean, manager of the Ogden City Cemetery.The most recent and drastic example was the discovery last weekend of 30 to 35 damaged or overturned headstones in the Japanese section of the cemetery.

"We had four or five shots in a two-month period where about 20 stones each time were involved. It's definitely showing a pattern," McKean said.

McKean said he's been in contact with Ogden police, who have promised extra surveillance, including a bicycle patrol.

Vandalizing a head stone can be more expensive than most offenders realize.

"The fines can be up to $1,000 and of course the restoration costs of the marker rest totally upon the vandal, and some of the stones can cost as much $15,000 to $20,000. Others can't be replaced because they are so old," McKean said.